Thursday, November 17, 2011

It's a process..

Over the last 4 years, I have really come to appreciate what all goes into caring for sheep and harvesting their product. (isn't wool amazing?)

My goal is to offer exceptional raw fleeces. The first couple of years, the challenge was vm and cleaning the pastures. Oh, and shearing.. yes, that was a big challenge. (not only for the first Even though we've continued to expand the pastures, the vm this year was not a big issue. The shearing was much easier this year - teetering on the "i enjoyed it" stage.

I feel better about getting the fleece off with minimum stress on the sheep and myself. Still need a little improving on the second cuts, but that's getting better with practice. We had some really nice fleeces this fall, and a couple of fleeces that seemed to have lived in the holler'. I can't quite figure how one sheep can get matted and filthy while the sheep that lays next to them stays as clean as a show sheep! I had one fleece (from our moorit ewe Sierra) that her belly wool looked and felt like the wool off of a lambs back - I didn't separate her belly wool because it was just too soft and beautiful to toss aside.

But this next picture is the delima for some of our fleeces this year - gummy tips. I've only noticed it on a couple of the fleeces, and I'm looking for advice if anyone has some "gum free tips" for me! I sheared the ewes after they lambed this year and as their fleeces started growing, I noticed these gummy tips. I am thinking that maybe i sheared too early? Possibly before their seasonal wool-break? (however, it didn't seem to early to be shearing.. May?)

So.. I spent a few hours picking the tips off of Alice's fleece.. and by the time I did that, I was invested! I was looking forward to washing and carding and spinning her fleece myself... I still have a lot of wool to skirt, and I'm hoping that i don't get attached to all of them!


  1. Call me in the spring and I'll come out and hold them down while you shear them:)

  2. The fleeces look fantastic!! I had a couple this spring that had kinda a wax substance to it. Not sure what it was, but I am thinking they may have been missing something in their minerals. We will see what they look like this coming spring. All the fall fleeces looked fine. (Changed mineral mix in early summer)

  3. I'll take you up on that Stephanie!

  4. Hey Marie, I've had that before too, and thought it was a form of the lanolin? I'll see what i can find out on that.